Monday, August 9, 2021

 




Finding Your Mindfulness

 

 Mindfulness derives from Buddhist teachings and practices that focus on increasing our own awareness on the present moment. It is a form of meditation that focuses on sensing and feeling the moment. Our minds may become preoccupied with worries about the past or future, and mindfulness can help redirect our mind back to the present and reduce stress.

 

            If you feel like it is difficult to “shut off” your mind meditation can help unwind and relax. Meditation may feel like a complicated practice that can only be mastered with help from a professional, but there are simple techniques that can be used at home to practice mindfulness.

 

Simple mindfulness techniques include breathing, paying attention and living in the moment. Many books and blogs provide structured mindfulness exercises, take time to review different techniques to find a few that work well for you. If you decided to try some techniques on your own remember to focus on the here and now, don’t let your mind wonder or daydream.

It may be difficult to focus in this way at first and you may find your mind wondering off and having to reel yourself back to your exercise. Just like any activity, mindfulness takes practice and the more you practice the easier it will be to stay focused on the here and now. Patience with yourself is key towards taking the steps to the life you want to live.

 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

 The Importance of a Sleep Routine


Having a sleep routine helps promote a healthy bedtime environment and a more consistent sleep quality. This is one of the first things I talk to clients about when they are experiencing an increase in mental health symptoms. Often lack of sleep, or quality sleep, can contribute to cognitive disfunction, emotional disturbances and some chronic health conditions.

Sleep routines are set activities that are done before bedtime to help cue your mind and body that sleep is coming. It’s important to set up a healthy sleep environment. Consider these ideas:

  • Keep a low noise level
  • Lower the room temperature 
  • Avoid electronics
  • Keep your bed for sleeping only. Don’t get into bed until you’re ready to sleep

Follow the same routine and try to maintain that routine even on weekends. Here are some activities to consider:

  • Pajamas 
  • Brush teeth
  • Washing face
  • Prepping your bed with blankets and pillows or favorite stuffed animals
  • Doing a calming activity such as listening to calming music, stretching, practicing gratitude 
  • Taking medications
  • Turning down the lights
  • Applying a scented lotion that calms you

And remember that if you’re struggling to sleep it’s okay to try some breathing exercises or get out of bed to engage in another calming activity. 

It takes 21 days to build a habit so make sure you stick to it and at the 21 day mark take note of any improvements. 

Friday, July 16, 2021




 Healing and growth is a process. When your healing stems from long term, drawn out, and deep rooted trauma there is a lot of self reflection and work involved in the process. Wounds need to be discovered and brought into conscious awareness so the work to reframe your thought patterns in triggering situations can begin. Healing and growth from one subconscious wound often opens doors to realizations of connected wounds and that Healing and growth process begins all over again.


I tell my clients all of the time, our brain is a muscle and our thought patterns we are consistently in become muscle memory. We have to retrain our minds and thought patterns the same way we train our muscles and movements at the gym. The more consistent the thoughts and patterns are, positive or negative, the more automatic that thought process will be.

Allow yourself the space, self love and understanding that you can't rush the process and it has to be done in a way that allows the the Healing to happen rather than repression of those wounds and traumas all over again. Otherwise the triggers still exist and the automatic thoughts don't change.

Surround yourself with people who support this and also allow you the grace and understanding through the process. Everyone's process looks different and takes time. Don't beat yourself up or allow others the space to look down on you for the amount of time it is taking or for the discovery of new ways you want to heal and grow. You can't rush your healing.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Self Care

 

Self-Care

Different ways that you can incorporate self-care into you daily routine


          With the hustle and bustle of todays demands, not to mention the strain that COVID 19 has put on our lives, how does anyone take time for self-care? Has it become one of those terms that we have heard of, but couldn’t imagine where we would squeeze that into an already busy schedule? How important is self-care anyway? Lastly, if I do not take time for myself then how is anything going to get done?

         Does this sound familiar? It does for many. We hear about self-care, but rarely take the time to incorporate it into our lives. There are so many things to get done in a day and often it feels like the list is never ending. So, individuals get burnt out, stressed from life, and can tend to cope un unhealthy ways. Here at Insight Counseling & Therapy we want you to be both healthy body and mind. So, we have put together some information on the importance of self-care and how to incorporate it into a busy schedule.

        Self-care is the time that one takes doing activities that they enjoy and is good for their mind, body, and soul. This could be reading, writing, painting, taking a bath, taking a nap, listening to music, going for a walk, participating in a sport, exercising, and many more. Self-care is all about activities that promote positive mental health and wellness.

       According Dr. Matthew Glowaik, a professor at Southern New Hampshire University, “Self-care is an important activity to do every day. Doing so will lead toward a better balance among your dimensions of wellness and lead toward improved overall health and wellness. Life is precious, and it is meant to be enjoyed” (2020).

      Self-care is at its finest, is about taking some time out of the day for yourself, doing what you fine enjoying. Creating a self-care routine can be the first step toward better overall wellness. Engaging in self-care has been proven to reduce or completely eliminate anxiety and depression, lower stress levels, increase concentration, lower frustration and anger, gain happiness, boost energy, and MORE! From a physical health point of view, self-care also has been shown to reduce heart disease, stroke, and cancer (Glowaik, 2020).

     Now that we have looked at a few of the many benefits self-care has, let’s look at the 8 different dimensions of wellness put out by the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (Glowaik, 2020). These different dimensions offer a plethora of options for incorporating self-care into your life.

Emotional self-care – speak with a friend, do self-reflection, write in a journal, read, do something artistic and creative, listen to music, exercise, go for a walk, watch TV. Hug someone and cuddle, laugh, or take a nap.

Environmental self-care o for a walk or run somewhere nice, breathe in fresh outside air, enjoy the sun, enjoy the night sky, or redesign a room.

Financial self-care – open a savings account, start saving (even if $1 per day), try saving even more if you are already saving, invest in something you are interested in, or ask for a raise.

Intellectual self-care – read or listen to audiobooks, watch documentaries on topics that interest you, put together a puzzle, become curious, try something new, take a class in something that interests you, graduate.

Occupational self-care – learn a trade, get your degree, train for a promotion, accept the promotion, put together your resume, polish your resume, apply for your dream job, take on a task you enjoy, open your own business.

Physical self-care – work out daily, take a walk, eat healthy, get your annual checkup, see the dentist, take medications as prescribed, avoid drugs and alcohol, get 7-9 hours of sleep, see the physician when you do not feel well.

Social – meet up with friends and family, keep in contact with old friends, volunteer, go out, have fun, engage in healthy social media use, exude positivity, utilize technology when distance is a factor, have a big laugh.

Spiritual self-care – meditate, pray, reflect, engage in yoga, visit a meaningful site, do right by others, be mindful, consider your higher purpose and meaning, look to your higher power for support, love one another, help those in need

 

references

What is self-care and why is it important for you? (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/2019/04/what-is-self-care


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

How to get back to living your best life when a bad mood sneaks up

 

How to get back to living your best life when a bad mood sneaks up

Don’t you just loath those days? The ones when something happens during the day that just puts you in the worst of moods. It could be an event or even a person that annoyed you so much it set the stage for the rest of the day to be spent in a bad mood. Well, we want you to know that everyone gets them. We also want to let you in on a secret. There is a way to get out of them and we are going to share that information with you! You are welcome by the way.

When you are in a bad mood, try not to avoid the bad mood. This can make your bad mood creep up in your life, harming relationships and robbing you of joy. Instead try taking a moment to understand the bad mood. This is a great time for some self-reflection and body scanning. You can do this by taking a deep breath, closing your eyes, and being still. Taking a moment to sense your body and acknowledge what you are truly feeling.

Now that you have had a moment to take a deep breath and become more centered, recognition of your feelings can emerge. Remember, everyone has experienced a bad mood before, however, there is hope! The tips that you will learn here is how to get yourself out of those bad moods when they do happen.

It is also important to know that the verbal part of our mind only processes about 40 bits of information per second. While our brain processes around 11 million bits of information every second. So, the next time your mind is saying things are terrible, try and remember it is saying all of this with not much information to go from (Lewis, par. 3).

TIP#1: Bust a move!

-          A way to get away from a bad mood is to dance the bad mood away with some positive and exceptionally uplifting music. By moving your body, you are moving awareness to something else (Lewis, par. 4). Which in turn will make your bad mood boogie away. Not only will you be helping your mind, you will also be helping your body. Dancing qualifies as an exercise and releases endorphins that will also encourage a positive attitude. Of course, if you rather go to the gym to increase your endorphins, we understand.

TIPS #2: Meditate

-          Meditation can be a great activity that can help you slow down and become more self-ware. Focusing on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling while sitting quietly or going for a walk outside can help to slower stress, decrease blood pressure, ease anxiety, and has many other great benefits.

TIP#3: Spending time with family

-          Spending time with the ones you love and the ones who make you feel most special can help boost lowered spirits. Family movie or games nights can help get rid of a bad mood. Also, if you’re a person who likes to just talk things out you can have a conversation with your partner and maybe talking can help ease those grouchy thoughts.

TIP#4: Spending time with friends

-          Sometimes you just need to vent to a friend about your mood. Talking with a friend about how you are feeling can be helpful. Friends can be strong support systems for each other when mad moods or sad feelings arise. So schedule a time when you and you friend/s can get together and either talk things out or go out and treat yourselves to a nice dinner or even dancing….Remember Tip  #1?

TIP#5: Self-care

-          There is an old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This phrase could use an upgraded clause adding, “and also if you cannot say anything nice, maybe you should remove yourself from the area immediately.” Sometimes taking a time out away from others helps ease a bad mood and if nothing else, makes sure that relationships aren’t harmed. Taking a nice bubble bath, reading a book, watching a favorite movie or TV show, or even a nap is all part of self-care and can be very helpful in diminishing a bad mood.

 

References

10 ways to cheer yourself up when you’re in a bad mood. (2014, October 15). Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-ways-cheer-yourself-when-youre-bad-mood.html